Saturday 15 December 2018

O'Brien denied in fillies' mile by finest of margins

The Karl Burke-trained Laurens. Photo: PA
The Karl Burke-trained Laurens. Photo: PA

Laurens put the seal on a tremendous season for trainer Karl Burke with a thrilling victory in the Fillies' Mile at Newmarket.

With the rail to help, PJ McDonald kicked for home inside the final two furlongs and after shaking off stablemate Ellthea and Magic Lily, looked set to win decisively.

However, September was travelling strongly in behind and once the gap came she fairly flew home to virtually join Laurens on the line.

After a nervous wait, the judge confirmed Laurens had held on by a nose to deny Aidan O'Brien his 24th Group One success of the season.

Magic Lily was not far away in third, with the O'Brien-trained 15/8 favourite Magical fourth.

McDonald, who rode the winner of the Scottish Grand National during his days as a National Hunt jockey, was claiming his first Group One success on the Flat.

"I can't believe it. I'm 35 years of age now and the relief when that number got called out was amazing. If I never do anything else in my career, I've ridden a Group One winner," he said.

"All credit goes to Lucy (Burke, trainer's daughter). She rides this filly every day. It's a massive team effort, everyone has played their part."

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